Yes, I know.
It’s a phrase that’s used all the time, but is this game a “must win”?.
On the face of it, it probably isn’t really, as the season will not be decided by what happens in the next couple of weeks.
But in a sense it is, if we want to get our season up and running, as there’s a nagging worry that if we don’t start winning soon we’ll get into a rut where not winning becomes the norm.
And while I still believe we’re going to give some team a tonking, I don’t think it’s going to happen tonight.
Like or loathe him, Ian Holloway has us down to lose this one and whatever you think of him, his punditry has been not far off the mark up to now. I’m just hoping he’s wrong this time.
Brentford were predicted to struggle this season after having sold a few players, but it seems Dean Smith, Brentford’s manager (who’s also a Villa fan) has bought well and they’ve actually had a decent start. A win for them tonight would have them challenging for the play-off places, but that’s not something I want to think about.
In contrast a win for us tonight would only move us up a couple of places, but that’s not so important at the moment.
More important is that we get the three points because, well, it’ll just be good for the soul won’t it?
The players will have their confidence lifted and we’ll all feel a sense of relief.
Squad news then and it’s looking quite good for us.
Mile Jedinak, Aaron Tshibola and Albert Adomah will hopefully all be available, which would give Di Matteo a nice problem selection-wise and if they are truly fit, I’d expect all three of them to start, with Gardner and Westwood dropping to the bench. But this is Westwood we’re talking about and it really wouldn’t surprise me if he retains his place.
There’s also the problem, if you can call it that, of who drops out if Adomah starts?
I don’t see how it can be Ayew, as he’s looked our best bet on the whole, so that leaves McCormack or Gestede.
It depends on how the manager sees the game being played out, I suppose.
Whatever, it’s a nice situation for us to be in and the bench will immediately look quite decent.
There’s been talk that the Villa players have been over-confident and have been backing off in games, a theory that is supposed to be the reason we only seem to play half a game.
I’m not convinced myself, but regardless, it’s one thing we cannot allow to happen tonight.
Brentford are obviously no mugs and they have the ability to punish us if we do get complacent.
We need to be 100% on the ball and if we are, there’s no reason why we can’t win this game.
And that’s my prediction; a 2-1 Villa win.
Please, pretty please.